Sudan Referendum Has International Support: SPLM Official

The new Government of Southern Sudan’s Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development Dr Anne Itto Leonardo has revealed that the international community has pledged to offer financial support to the referendum.

"The United States government has come up with a pledge of 60 million US dollars to support the referendum, the UK government has pledged 100 million US dollars, the UN has pledged 20 million and more is coming”, she told the media before her swearing in on Tuesday at the SPLM office for Southern Sector Secretariat.

“More importantly all are making their statements that they will do everything possible to ensure that the referendum is done on 9th January 2011 and they will respect the choices of the Sudanese people”, Dr Itto said.

She said that the SPLM partner in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the National Congress Party (NCP), was not interested in the plebiscite slated for January next year.

“The lobbying and trying to encourage the countries in the region is very important but first and foremost the NCP is not interested in the referendum because the boundary has not yet been determined and President Bashir made a statement saying that the boundary is not important”, said Dr Itto.

She further said the Government of Southern Sudan will put some money on the referendum to mobilise the people and the international community, because the elections was poorly funded which led to chaos and lack of many election materials, something she wished should not happen again.

“We know that NPC has delayed the formation of the referendum commission of Abyei and Southern Sudan and by law registration should be done six months before voting”, said the SPLM official.

“The road to the referendum will not be honey and milk but its going to be a right that all South Sudanese must stand up and protect to fight for by supporting the SPLM and the South Sudanese government. This is going to require our unity in all the different communities in South Sudan with a determination to arrive to the referendum”, she said.

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